(*Brill = Brilliant.)
Helen Sheng here for one final, melancholy post after 8 amazing weeks in England. It has truly been one of the greatest summers of my life here, and indeed, England was even better than I imagined. Thanks to everyone at Mobell, Krizevac, and SIBC who built this unforgettable experience for me.
In my time here, I’ve met a true entrepreneur, made cool graphics, devised and implemented marketing strategies, prepped bikes and packed books for Malawi, and hung out with terrific people.
Final weeks at Mobell
After Tyler and Eric left, I continued our SIM marketing strategy by drafting “expert” phone posts and travel blogs for the Mobal website, and creating lists of adwords to help drive more traffic to the site. I also saw yet another side of the office by spending some time with the USA customer service team, and listening in to some support and sales calls.
Finals weeks at Krizevac
The charity side has also mostly remained the same, although Zoe has managed to hire a new paid worker named Terry who has been an enormous help. I’ve continued helping out with selling and packing books, preparing bikes, and making donation pickups, but there’s also been some added excitement in anticipation of preparing a new shipment going out to Malawi next week (which, unfortunately, I would of course be missing).
Finals weeks in England
I’ve certainly tried to make the most of my last two weeks! First, I went back to London to see a truly unforgettable West End performance of The Book of Mormon at the Prince of Wales theatre. A beautiful, heartwarming and absolutely hilarious tale of friendship, adventure, love and truth.
The following weekend, my new friend Claire from the USA customer service team took me out to Dudley Zoo (you are NEVER too old of the zoo), which is also surrounded by Dudley castle, yet another majestic British castle that has been around for about a millenia. (We also saw Guardians of the Galaxy, which is an absolute must see–Vin Diesel only gets 5 words, but those words will make you FEEL)
Lessons and Highlights
1. Commitment is absolutely critical.
This is perhaps one of the biggest things I’ve learned at Mobell. After seeing so many sides of the office, I’ve noticed that the teams that work better are the ones that have better communication with both themselves and their leaders. I also learned a little bit about the Scrum agile software development framework (i.e. a management technique for software product development), which seems to be heavily reliant on good and productive communication between teams, their leaders, and the upper management. Within the office, I slowly began to see how some of the best teams often have weekly or even daily meetings, are very friendly and comfortable together, and even spend time together outside of work. On the other hand, I found that one team that struggled (despite having some of the smartest and most competent members of the office) tended to be more disconnected, and did not have a strong relationship with their manager. Even I enjoyed my work much more as the weeks went by, and I began talking more with people around the office and started to fit in better.
2. Mistakes are unavoidable. Inaction is not.
This is something that came across from all of Tony’s stories–this is a man who has started/owned/co-owned at least a dozen different companies in completely different markets, and not all of them have been successful. However, even now he is constantly looking for new projects and niches.
3. Soft skills always make a difference.
This is somewhat similar to the first, but a little more personal–I went into England knowing absolutely no one, and I left with several new friends and connections, people who will remember me so that I will always have a bed to sleep on the next time I come to visit. I discovered that although knowledge and expertise are necessary and important, friendliness never goes unnoticed, and can often leave an even bigger impression.
I’d like to take a moment to gush about England. If you get bored, just scroll through and look at the pictures. But England is truly a fantastic country! I’m constantly amazed by the depth of the country.
I’ve visited 11 cities/towns, 4 castles, 3 museums, 2 barbeques, 1 zoo, 1 proper Shakespeare festival, 1 music festival, 1 show in the West End, climbed 1 peak, and saw 1000000000 (give or take) sheep and 1 single squirrel, and yet it seems I’ve only barely scratched the surface.
I’ve seen some of the (terribly charming) British cynicism, as well as a hidden spring of national pride underneath it. I’ve experienced both the initial politeness and deeper friendliness that follows. And I must have heard at least 10 different accents, some of which occur in the same office.
There’s a certain air of…class, I think, in England. Yes, of course there are obscenities on walls and sketchy bits in every city but on a general level, the food, the shopping, the cars and homes, the people, etc, seem to emanate a very slight, but noticeable sense of quality. Maybe it’s because this is a country that has had thousands of years to discover itself, that used own half the world, that still has a queen. And although I bleed the red, white and blue of the star spangled banner, I could see why someone would be proud to be British.
This is NOT the last time I visit Britain.This country has got to me; I may very well study abroad there, or spend the occasional summer visiting. In any case, I’ll be back.
Thanks for the adventure,